Planning to Fold Multiple Objects from a Single Self-Folding Sheet

Byoungkwon (Kwon) An, Nadia Benbernou, Erik D. Demaine, Daniela Rus



This paper considers planning and control algorithms that enable a programmable sheet to realize different shapes by autonomous folding. Prior work on self-reconfiguring machines has considered modular systems in which independent units coordinate with their neighbors to realize a desired shape. A key limitation in these prior systems is the typically many operations to make and break connections with neighbors, which lead to brittle performance. We seek to mitigate these difficulties through the unique concept of self-folding origami with a universal fixed set of hinges. This approach exploits a single sheet composed of interconnected triangular sections. The sheet is able to fold into a set of predetermined shapes using embedded actuation. We describe the planning algorithms underlying these selffolding sheets, forming a new family of reconfigurable robots that fold themselves into origami by actuating edges to fold by desired angles at desired times. Given a flat sheet, the set of hinges, and a desired folded state for the sheet, the algorithms (1) plan a continuous folding motion into the desired state, (2) discretize this motion into a practicable sequence of phases, (3) overlay these patterns and factor the steps into a minimum set of groups, and (4) automatically plan the location of actuators and threads on the sheet for implementing the shape-formation control.

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